Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hiding in the Light: Disclosure and Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Jena Martin of West Virginia College of Law has posted a fascinating new article titled Hiding in the Light: The Misuse of Disclosure to Advance the Business and Human Rights Agenda.   Here's the abstract:

"The aim of this article is to analyze whether the business and human rights agenda (as embodied by the Three Pillar Framework and UN Guiding Principles) is well served with national laws that focus on disclosure. The article will focus primarily on rules being implemented in the United States at both the subnational and national level, however, it will also discuss approaches being used in European jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom and France and the overall trend towards a transparency model for human rights protection from business activities. The increased use of disclosure-based regulation (and the resulting compliance efforts by corporations) seems to come, at least in part, as a result of the efforts by States to address the duties laid out for them in the UN Guiding Principles. As such, it seems appropriate to undertake an analysis regarding whether these laws are in fact effective at implementing the Guiding Principles.

For decades now, disclosure has been held out as the ultimate curative for every corporate woe. The expansion of disclosure initiatives from mere investment related issues to increasingly social policy issues would indicate that this trend will continue. Yet as this article demonstrates, disclosure right now is, at best a temporary stop gap measure that can lead to limited corporate change on the issue of business and human rights. At worst, disclosure is being used by corporations as a way to obtain a reputational advantage without actually making substantive changes – by simply hiding in the light."

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/human_rights/2017/09/hiding-in-the-light-disclosure-and-guiding-principles-on-business-and-human-rights.html

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